By Susan Patterson, Master Gardener
Attractive and normally trouble free, cedar trees can be great additions to the landscape. To learn more about cedar tree care or how to grow cedar trees, you may find the following information helpful.
Facts About Cedar Trees
There are many types of cedar trees, all members of the cypress family. All cedars are large coniferous evergreen trees. Because of their size, these trees are not often found in gardens and are usually seen lining streets or in parks. However, they make an excellent windbreak and are suitable on large pieces of property to add a living hedge or winter interest. They grow fast and can be found in a wide range of climate zones.
How to Grow Cedar Trees
Cedar trees are not hard to grow and will give elegance to any space where they have room to spread. The trees start easily from seed but require a 48-hour soaking period and another month in the refrigerator, along with some potting soil in a zip lock bag. The soil must be kept moist during this time.
After a month, seeds can be placed in a paper cups with compost and potting soil mixture. Cups should be placed in a sunny window, and the potting soil should be kept moist.
Plant the seedlings outside when they are 6 inches tall. Select a sunny location carefully and do not plant trees any closer than five feet apart. Dig a hole that is three times the size of the cup and use high quality compost and native soil mixture to fill the hole.
Place a 2-foot stake next to the tree and gently attach the seedling to the stake with garden twine.
How to Care for a Cedar Tree
Keep a 2-inch layer of mulch around the tree, but not touching the trunk, to prevent moisture loss and protect the tree. It may be necessary to use a wire cage to prevent injury from mechanical devices as well. Protect young trees with a covering of landscape fabric if you live in a very cold climate.
Water small trees regularly and allow them to dry out completely between each watering.
Fertilizer is generally not necessary unless the soil is very unhealthy.
Once the tree is mature, cedar tree care involves little more than regular mulching and removal of dead or diseased branches.
Cedar Tree Problems
While there are not too many cedar tree problems to deal with, several pesky insects are attracted to cedar trees including the cypress tip moth, root weevil, mites and juniper scale. Infested trees generally exhibit symptoms including brown or yellow foliage, reduction of plant sap, white cocoons or black, sooty mold. Horticultural oil or insecticide may be needed if infestation is extreme.
Cedar trees are also yummy to dogs and rodents who enjoy munching on the bark. This can cause extensive damage if left unattended. Proper diagnosis and treatment is essential to prevent tree loss.